How to Organize Your Kitchen

How to Organize Your Kitchen

Healthy choices and practices begin at home. From the moment you wake up, the decisions you make set the course of your day.  Your decisions are form the rituals and habits of your life. For that reason, it’s important to make choices that will support your mind and body.  There is no better way to do that than with a well-organized kitchen.

Food fuels everything, and as the Ayurvedica saying goes, food is medicine. Your body can either thrive from how you nourish it or struggle to maintain its health. Learning how to organize your kitchen by keeping it clean and well-supplied can mean the difference between a healthy and fresh breakfast eaten calmly or a frozen breakfast burrito or coffee eaten quickly on your way out the door.

Now’s the time to organize your kitchen and make your desire for healthy eating and wellness a reality!

 

Healthy Eating Basics

Before we talk about organizing your kitchen to support healthy eating habits, let’s take a moment to talk about what healthy eating actually means. Healthy eating is all about consuming a wide variety of fresh foods, especially legumes and vegetables, and reducing your intake of more damaging foods such as animal proteins, foods high in saturated fats, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and ready-made processed food. Your intake of leafy green vegetables, legumes, and ancient whole grains should be maximized along with sufficient filtered tap water.  Keeping meals small and consumed slowly while also avoiding late night eating.

Stove-top cooking is considered healthier than frying, grilling, baking, and microwaving such nutrients are kept more alive and oil not transformed into a carcinogen versus when heated up at extremely high temperatures.

The longer food is cooked, the more chemical change food undergoes. For example, vegetables grown above ground need less cooking time for nutrients to be remain bio-available versus overcooking and causing  nutrients to evaporate. Different types of beans require presoaking in hot water before cooking in order for the legumes to be easily digested.

Properly cooking something is critical to proper digestion.  When the mouth and stomach can easily break food down, nutrients can be easily absorbed and delivered to the cells.  Energy can be more easily extracted.

 

Keeping Your Kitchen Organized

Just as it did for our ancestors, our health begins around a hearth. The kitchen is the center of every other healthy lifestyle choice or eating habit we develop. Organizing your kitchen is critical to shifting to healthy eating habits.  You want your kitchen experience to be happy — no one wants to cook in a messy kitchen. It’s a frustrating experience having to fight for counter-space, or fish a dirty tool out of the sink. You wouldn’t try to build a cabinet without tools, and you shouldn’t expect to cook without them, either.

 

Declutter.

The first step is to declutter. Throw away old and expired food.  Get rid of utensils you don’t use. Re-gift or donate decorative items you don’t really enjoy. Once your kitchen is free of clutter, it’s time for the next step.

 

Clean.

Clean everything. Get rid of any clutter, rub out any splatter or grease stains, mop the floors, pull the stove out from the wall and clean everything behind it. Wipe down every single surface until the whole room glistens. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how inspiring a clean and open kitchen can be! Now it’s time to organize.

 

Organize.

Keep your most-used tools close at hand, maybe on the wall beside the stove or on a nearby drawer. Things like mixing bowls, baking trays, and so on can be tucked away, but your chef’s knife and cutting board should never be out of reach. If you can, rearrange any furniture to better facilitate access. Your kitchen should be a welcoming space that you’re eager to use, but it should be streamlined and efficient too.

Here are some simple hacks that will make everything easier:

Many of us compromise our healthy habits because we just don’t have the time to stick to them. We cut corners, like skipping breakfast, because there isn’t time to clean a pan or make room on the stove. Keeping your kitchen organized, and clean will help ensure that you don’t fall back on excuses of convenience and that you’re better able to stick to your new healthy eating habits.

 

Stocking Your Pantry

Now that your kitchen is decluttered, clean, and organized, what sorts of things should you keep in stock, and which should you avoid? That’s going to depend on what you like to cook. Remember, there’s a healthy version of just about everything, but there are definitely a few universal truths too.

Avoid anything pre-packaged. Condiments and salad dressings, for instance, seem convenient and almost never expire, but they’re loaded with HFCS, saturated fats, salt, gasoline additives, and so on. They’re a laundry list of all the things you should be avoiding. Instead, stock up on olive oil, vinegar, lemon, and a robust supply of spices.  You’ll be able to easily make your own salad dressing from scratch.

While we’re on the subject of herbs and spices, remember that many have medicinal properties. Turmeric, for instance, is great for managing inflammation. Oregano is antibacterial. Ginger is great for digestion and treating colds and flus, and the list goes on. In fact, herbs and spices have the effect of decreasing toxicity in the body, reducing inflammation, and contributing to the reduction of risk for many diseases.

Dried grains and legumes are a great addition to your pantry, too. Dried chickpeas, lentils, pearl barley, amaranth seeds, and more can be kept in clear glass canisters for some time, so you’ll always have healthy options available even if you haven’t had time to shop for produce.

Produce, on the other hand, should always be fresh. Try to avoid purchasing it too far in advance. Planning meals for a week is a great way to keep your healthy eating habits supported, but there’s not much of a point in buying something so far in advance that it’s just going to wilt by the time you’re ready to cook with it. Leverage your local farmers’ market!

Healthy eating habits are all about consistency. An indulgent treat now and again won’t hurt you, but falling out of good habits for extended periods can undo all your hard-won successes. Keeping your kitchen stocked and organized takes the pressure off and makes cooking healthy meals a joy, rather than a burden.

 

Building Healthy Lifestyle at Advanced Health

Advanced Health’s integrative approach to medicine is based on understanding root causes of health problems and supporting our patients to make needed changes gently and sustainably. An organized kitchen is one simple way you can improve your health and well-being. Contact us today to book a consultation, and learn how we can set you on the path to lifelong wellness. To book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393.

Author
Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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